Wisconsin Tribe Seeks Federal Funds To Help Families Hurt By Substance Abuse

Lac Du Flambeau Declared State Of Emergency Last Year In Response To High Rates Of Abuse


A second northern Wisconsin tribe has signed an agreement with Wisconsin to get federal money to help with what’s being called a state of emergency, as high rates of substance abuse continue to negatively impact families on an Ojibwe reservation.

The Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa declared a state of emergency last year, and since then has banished 85 people from its reservation. Tribal spokesman Brandon Thoms said substance abuse had become an epidemic.

“Drug abuse, alcoholism, substance abuse, chemical abuse issues — it’s all cyclical and it’s definitely tied into poverty,” Thoms said.

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Now, 17 months later, Lac du Flambeau is taking another step. Last week, it signed an agreement with the state to share federal money for services to families.

Lac du Flambeau Indian Child Welfare Director Kristen Allen said their primary goal is to keep families together. The tribe also strives to make sure that if and when a child removed from its immediate family, that they are placed with another family member.

Allen said that with the federal funding, they’ll be able to hire more case managers to make more calls on families and check on kids. They’ll also be able to recruit more foster parents on the reservation and be able to do more training for them.

The Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa also signed the same child welfare agreement earlier this year.